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10 Responses to “Give Me a Break”

  1. Barnabas says:

    Stimulating as usual Mike. My observation is that lecturing is merely the transmission of information. This differs from data transfer and the teaching of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.Each requiring digestion and depth.
    By implication :-
    Locations are a ledge, stand and domain.
    Points of reference are needed to reflect the full coverage. Wisdom in action being the essence of full grasp.

  2. Barnabas says:

    Is not true that the lecture itself can plant the seed for the overflow for break discussions. Inevitably when 20 mins is seen as an optimum reception time, a lecture on average will provide 200% of overload. Lecturing is one way traffic. Learning involves individual dialogue. Apprenticeship facilitates wisdom, lecturing facilitates mass distribution of information. Seminars and tutorials facilitate the digestion.

  3. Hank says:

    This is why the generalization that “A” students become teachers and “B” students become practitioners has some merit. For the minority with whom the lecture methodology resonates, they continue to further that system.

    I did not do well in school, until I was in business school utilizing the cohort method. Collaboration and hands-on work were critical to academic success in that environment where a teacher’s role is more important as a facilitator then as a lecturer.

  4. Mike Metzger says:

    Barnabas and Hank:

    True, true, true. As Sir Ken Robinson puts it, the point of a college education today is to create tomorrow’s college professors. Lectures work well for them. For the rest of the us – the 99 percent – we’re left with sheafs of notes that we pitch and textbooks we try to sell after a course is complete.

  5. Gerard Weldele says:

    Continued gratitude for your leadership.

    Reading about “breaks” reminds me of growing up in church as a teenage youth when we would find reasons to leave the service to congregate outside on the steps. It was meeting a need.

  6. marble says:

    Percolating many, many ideas after a semester teaching philosophy at a community college to students who decidedly do NOT wish to endure lectures. . . . This framework sparks some new ideas! And I have some new reading on my reading list.

  7. A Better Way Than Lectures? | CaCHE | Church. Community. Higher Education. says:

    […] his recent┬ápost, Michael Metzger considers why lectures aren’t an incredibly effective way of learning. He […]

  8. Glenn says:

    Some of the most powerful learning moments in my life came from great lectures in college or sermons. They deeply impacted my life. If we consider a book as a very long lecture–information being passed in one direction–then I’d have to say that great books (including the Bible) continue to have a very powerful impact on my life. And then there’s excellent essays like yours, Mike, which are like small mini-lectures (Latin:
    “to read”), all of which I thoroughly enjoy and learn from. I’m all for problem solving classrooms, but it seems they might work well hand-in-hand with quality lectures.

  9. Mike Metzger says:


    It’s not an either/or argument. The evidence is simply that lectures are less effective than holodecks (or innovation labs).

  10. Chris Schenk says:

    Greetings Mike – hope you had a great Thanksgiving and start of Advent.

    Judy and I subscribe to the infrequent 5 minute “info burst” from us and then right back to the group for their real world application. We also will have small groups do their own research on a variety of topics, report to the whole group and then draw applications to the purpose for meeting in the first place. We call this a “self teach”.

    There are many good ways to accelerate decision making and problem solving and promote experiential learning – learning by doing. We are thankful that our grad school professors were Practitioners too.

    p.s. Allowing ample time for meals can also be very constructive – with or without “assignments”.

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